CRIDERSVILLE — Residents can expect an increase of $5 on water and sewer combined utility bills starting on September’s billing period.
The decision to increase the cost was made during a regular meeting of the Cridersville Village Council this week.
Cridersville Village Administrator Jarid Kohlrieser said residents will pay $30.23 with the increase, while anyone outside of the corporation who receives Cridersville water and sewer utilities will pay $43.79.
“We provide a good service to our residents and community, so, in order to keep those services up to the standard they are — unfortunately everything has increased on our side — those have to be paid,” Kohlrieser said.
Kohlrieser said the additional funds are to go into the water and sewer account for purchasing water meters, and replacing water leaks and sewer lines. He said they will be making necessary improvements and purchases for water and sewer projects.
One of the main projects the funds are to go toward will be the elevated water tower.
“The water tower requires regular maintenance, cleaning and painting,” Kohlrieser said. “We’re going to install a bypass line so we’ll be able to isolate that tower.”
Kohlrieser said the combined cost of the water tower maintenance project adds up to $26,000.
Kohlrieser said water and sewer operational expenses continually increase, and the village has not increased utility bills since 2009.
“Even with the increase added on, we’re still lower than most other communities,” Kohlrieser said.
After a full-year cycle, Kohlrieser said the village plans to review the increase with the financial committee.
“After that full-year cycle, we will look back and see how the increase affected us and what we need do to look forward,” Kohlrieser said.
Kohlrieser assured that the utility increase was necessary to keep the Cridersville water and sewer plants operating properly.
“We have looked at other means and ways in order to cut and save,” Kohlrieser said. “We have made cuts in those funds. This was still a necessity to make sure those funds stayed in the positive.”
Three council members were opposed to the utility increase, due to the built-in overtime given to the maintenance operators at each plant.
“It does not sit well with me to ask people to pay on their water bill when there is built-in overtime of two hours a day,” Cridersville Village Council President Tony Zuppardo said. “It’s not fair to our residents.”
Also opposing the utility increase were council members Rick Walls and Shirley Anderson.
Kohlrieser said he has cut down overtime hours from three to two per day.
“They have to do daily readings, make sure pumps are running 24 hours, seven days a week in order to make sure residents can use restroom facilities,” Kohlrieser said. “That takes manpower and routine checks to make sure everything is working properly.”
Voting to approve the increase were council members Stacey Cook, Eric West and Paul Lynch.
Since the council members voted evenly, Mayor Lorali Myers acted as the tiebreaker and approved the utility increase.
“If we don’t do the increase, utilities will be over budget,” Myers said. “The bottom line is it needs to go in there for planning for the future.”